Robben & Van Persie will remain captains, says Hiddink

The new Netherlands coach is enthusiastic about his time in charge of the World Cup semi-finalists and has paid tribute to predecessor Louis van Gaal


New Netherlands coach Guus Hiddink says that Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie will remain key leaders of his side going forward.

The Manchester United striker and the Bayern Munich winger shone for Oranje as they reached the World Cup semi-finals under Louis van Gaal this summer.

Hiddink, who led his country to the last four at the 1998 edition of the competition, has paid tribute to his predecessor and is looking to build on the blue-print the former Bayern Munich coach set out as he looks towards Euro 2016.

“It’s too early to talk about technical decisions,” he said at his unveiling.

“Robben and Van Persie were very important so I think they will remain captains. I can’t say in what order yet.

“I want to give a big compliment to Van Gaal, his staff and the players. It was very important that we got a good result in Brazil.

“People abroad got a thrill out of this team and people were also more enthusiastic in our own country.

“If it’s possible, we want to play attacking and dominant football, but you have to be realistic as well. Realistic football can also be beautiful.”

Van Gaal’s assistant Danny Blind and Ruud van Nistelrooy will be back-up to Hiddink and the former Turkey and South Korea boss is enthusiastic about what they can bring to the fold.

“I’m very glad that Blind and Van Nistelrooy are on my staff. I was very excited after talks with them.”

Cazorla and Chicharito not on our agenda, claims Atletico president

Enrique Cerezo says he is not pursuing the duo, Fernando Torres or Jose Callejon, and believes Antoine Griezmann to be a better signing than James Rodriguez


Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo claims his side are not currently pursuing deals for Premier League trio Santi Cazorla, Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez and Fernando Torres.

All three attacking players have been heavily linked with the Spanish champions in recent weeks as they look to reinvest the funds from the sales of Diego Costa and Filipe Luis, with coach Diego Simeone admitting Mexico international Chicharito was “a great option”.

Cerezo, however, has poured cold water on any imminent approaches for the England-based trio and Napoli winger Jose Callejon.

“Many names have been said, but Cazorla, Torres, Chicharito, Callejon – none of them are on our agenda,” he told Radio Marca.

Atletico have already reached an agreement with Real Sociedad for Antoine Griezmann, believed to be worth €25 million, and Cerezo believes the France international will be the best transfer this summer – better, even, than James Rodriguez to Real Madrid.

“He is the signing of the summer. He is comparable to players like Luis Suarez. James is not the same as he does not yet have a defined path,” said Cerezo.

“It’s a great boost for the club, we made a great effort to bring him in. Although he had many offers, he decided on a club as serious and important as Atletico.”

Reports have emerged to suggest Chelsea could be plotting a move to take Miranda to Stamford Bridge this summer, and while Cerezo has rubbished the rumours, he admits players could be tempted to leave the club should significant financial offers be forthcoming.

“I have no idea about any offer, and if I’ve not heard anything it’s because he is going to stay, I’m sure of that,” he added. “Koke preferred to stay, that’s clear. If a player wants to leave, it’s not becaue he is not comfortable here, it’s due to financial reasons.”

Van Gaal was sorry to see me go, says Evra

The defender admits it was very difficult to bid farewell to the Premier League giants but says he had no hesitation in accepting an offer from Juventus


Patrice Evra has revealed personal reasons were behind his decision to leave Manchester United and make the switch to Juventus – though he says new manager Louis van Gaal was eager to keep him.

The France left-back agreed a two-year contract with the Serie A champions earlier this month after asking to leave United towards the end of the previous campaign.

His decision to move on ended an eight-and-a-half year stay in England that saw the 33-year-old lift five Premier League titles, three League Cups and the Champions League.

Evra revealed on Thursday that although he had signed a one-year extension at Old Trafford in May, he had no hesitation in making the switch to Turin once a €2.5 million deal had been agreed.

“It was really difficult to leave Manchester United, it was for personal reasons,” he said at a media conference in Turin.

“Three months before the end of the season I asked to speak to other clubs and when I knew Juventus were interested it was an easy decision, but the most difficult thing was to leave Manchester United.

“Manchester had great confidence in me. I spoke to Van Gaal, who was sorry to see me go, but I wanted to come to Juventus.”

Juve have won the past three Serie A titles under Antonio Conte but preparations for the new campaign were thrown into doubt when the head coach left his role with the club on July 16.

Massimiliano Allegri replaced Conte at the helm and Evra, who does not have any concerns about the 45-year-old’s departure, is ready for the challenges that come with defending the league crown.

“The minute Juventus came calling, I knew it was the right choice for me,” he added. “They have the same winning mentality as me.

“Juve wants to win this year, I have never won the championship four times in a row, but it won’t be easy.

“I managed to do it three times with Manchester United and know how difficult the challenge is.

“We hope to do well in the Champions League too. It’s a great competition and we’ll look to go as far as we can.”

Shaw: I deserved criticism from Van Gaal

The new signing was ordered to train alone after the new Manchester United manager said he wasn’t fit enough


Manchester United full-back Luke Shaw conceded he deserved criticism from new manager Louis van Gaal over his fitness levels.

Shaw was made to train on his own earlier this week during United’s pre-season tour of the United States, with Van Gaal claiming the new signing from Southampton was not at the fitness levels he demands.

“It’s something I totally agree with,” Shaw said. “Playing in this formation [3-5-2] you really have to be fit. I am fit but not at [Van Gaal's] high demands. I know I have got to get fitter to get up and down.

“That’s something I am going to work on, and tonight in 45 minutes I felt really good, so I am looking forward to keep on progressing until the start of the season.”

Shaw was a surprise substitute against Inter on Tuesday evening,but the left-back is confident he is now one step closer to being ready for the new Premier League season.

“I played 45 minutes and I felt great. I could have played on. It’s a progression from the last game I played so hopefully now the main focus is getting fitter and I’ll be flying by the start of the season.

“I wasn’t meant to play today because me and the staff decided it would be better to push me harder in training, but I didn’t have any problems and I feel good.”

Van Gaal added: “I think he did very good tonight. He’s working very hard. He was lucky today because I was going to play our friend Reece James, but he was a little bit injured.

“And so I asked Shaw to play, in spite of a very heavy training session this morning.”

Man United outcast Hernandez could join Atletico Madrid, says Simeone

The Argentine has admitted his admiration for the Mexico international, whose future at Old Trafford remains unclear, with Louis van Gaal reluctant to be drawn on the issue

Diego Simeone believes Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez represents a “great option” for Atletico Madrid as they look to bolster their attack ahead of the new season.

Hernandez moved to Old Trafford in the summer of 2010 but has failed to establish himself as anything more than an impact substitute, starting just six Premier League games last season.

Former United captain Nemanja Vidic this week urged his new club Inter to make a move for the Mexican frontman, though Atletico are also hoping to fill the attacking void left by the departures of Diego Costa and David Villa.

And while Simeone – who currently has Mario Mandzukic as the only recognised striker in his squad – would not confirm he will make a move for the 26-year-old, he refused to rule it out.

“We speak to the sporting directors, we gave them the ideas on the type of players we want and then they get the players,” the Argentine told reporters.

“With Javier Hernandez and plenty of other great players, anything is possible. We can’t close the door to anyone until the transfer window closes.

“He is a vertical player, great in one on one situations, he’s a great option for any team.”

New United boss Louis van Gaal gave Hernandez a 13-minute cameo in Wednesday’s International Champions Cup penalty win over Inter, but could not provide any guarantees over the player’s future.

“That I cannot answer,” the Dutchman insisted after the match. “He is a player of Manchester United at this moment.”

The striker himself was similarly unwilling to discuss the issue. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, only God knows,” he told reporters. “I just have to keep working.”